~Ten Things for Daily Happiness

Picture of my dog max in a summer garden.

Picture of my dog max in a summer garden.

In my last post, I talked about how we need to simplify our lives, integrate a habit of simple joys and surround ourselves with things that bring us comfort. Here’s what I count on daily, to add quality to my life: what about you? Please feel free to share your own suggestions.

1. Walk by the beach, and listen to the sound of the ocean

2. Use soaps and products with lavender, or that smell like fresh laundry and flowers

3. Listen to some amazing music and sing along very LOUDLY while no one is around; alternatively, remember to laugh at myself  occasionally

4. Eat well: enjoy fresh food, and make really enjoyable delicious things at least once a day

5.  Spend a few moments admiring a garden or a beautiful park (ideally while enjoying a picnic lunch)

6.  Take a long walk with my dog and spend at least 30 minutes playing with him, talking to him, and petting him generously

7.  Giving a quick call to family and friends: there’s no time to connect with people you love like today

8.  Admire things that inspire me and give me solace in my home (like art, home furnishings, perfumes, movies, music, etc.); and think of how to make my environment more enjoyable by appealing to the senses

9.  Read positive quotes and take a brief moment for meditation over my morning coffee, and then do ONE random act of kindness for a stranger during my day

10.  Take ten minutes to focus on the things and people that I love, and say thanks for “3 things that I’m grateful for” before I go to sleep

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~Daily Inspirations and the Search for Solace

Lighthouse Window in Monterey, CA

Lighthouse window in Monterey, CA

It started back in the eighties. I found myself wishing for a simpler time, with a slower pace. I loved wood moldings and retro/reproduction furniture from Pottery Barn, and old crystal doorknobs that looked like they were from the twenties, from Restoration Hardware. I started listening to standards and lounge music.  I discovered the joys of fragrant French soap. My roommate at the time taught me about how 300-count thread sheets, egyptian cotton towels, and how these things combined with fresh-smelling fabric softener, could all bring a little more joy to your daily life. I found myself drinking lemonade and gardening more. I learned to enjoy hearty weekend breakfasts, followed by hikes (and a nap) in the afternoons.

Of course, this was all in between my mad, hectic, compressed, insane race to an advertising career and cosmopolitan youthful lifestyle. But I thought perhaps there was a cultural shift going on: something bubbling beneath the cut-cut-cut of the instant music video world we lived in, and something beyond the L.A. traffic jams and instant Danish boxy furniture we’d all become accustomed to. I saw a ripple in the ether.

A cultural shift was indeed happening, and it was evident that it wasn’t just me with these yearnings. I felt like there was a move towards simplicity, slowing down, and sentimentality. Then in the nineties, it moved forward rapidly. Continue reading